During the previous year, we mostly invested into the school's infrastructure, in particular the construction of the new toilets, which greatly improved hygienic conditions. This year, we focused on the school's educational quality, in particular personnel matters. In order to improve general teaching effectiveness and thus the students' long-term professional chances, we conducted a full hiring and selection process for two new teachers. For these two positions we placed special emphasis on advanced educational credentials in order to expand the school's teaching capabilities for the future. The new staff was intended to take on not only the educational but also administrative leadership of the school, as well as connect closely with the existing teaching staff, who form a strong and crucial bond between the school and the Mackenzie community.
Throughout the hiring and selection process we received great professional pro-bono support from an executive member of the 'Eagles Wings Community School'. This relationship had started one year earlier, when we expanded our activity portfolio into the Twapia community. In particular thanks to his long-term experience with the hiring process of qualified teachers, we were able to complete this milestone in a timely and competent manner. Besides placing a professional ad in a local newspaper on three different opportunities we also advertised via flyers throughout Ndola. We then invited the most promising applicants to various rounds of interviews, which were conducted by our board members, our local coordinator as well as our partner from the Eagles Wings Community School.
In the end, we were excited to make offers to two highly motivated and qualified candidates, who subsequently joined our existing team at Mackenzie Community School in mid-September. Currently, the main goal of both new staff members is to increase the overall level of professionalism at the school, build and/or deepen necessary contacts with the Ministry of Education, as well as assist the existing teaching staff with their continued education and certification. All these activities together form the necessary basis for the planned future expansion of Mackenzie Community School.
With regards to our microloan program we were able to have initial and constructive discussions with representatives of a local university. These discussions took place with the intention to find a competent local partner in order to continue to expand and professionalize our program. After this initial round of meetings, follow-up discussions are already scheduled for later this year. Overall goal of the envisioned relationship is to establish an extra-curricular program opportunity for qualified business students to participate in our microloan program as advisors and coaches. While iChange would continue to provide the program's necessary capital funds, the university would contribute their know-how and local resources. For the students the program would offer an excellent opportunity to test and apply their knowledge in real life situations; the ultimate beneficiaries, however, would be our program participants, who would be able to tap into the knowledge and know-how of local professional advisors in order to successfully set up their new business ventures.
Already last year we had started a test project with MWSA. Six young key members and leaders of their program were selected to receive stipends to continue their schooling. We are happy to report that the first round of results was very encouraging. Even more impressive from our side, however, was the very proactive and professional communication as well as engagement of the local project leader, Brian.
Based on what we were able to achieve in this test project, we are now planning to expand our activities in Twapia in the near future, including supporting the MWSA's programs. Besides an additional two scholarships for the next school term, MWSA now receives direct financial support in order to continue and expand their after-school soccer program.